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Aldi pledges record £1.3bn investment as sales soar

Aldi, the UK’s best value supermarket, has pledged to invest a record £1.3bn over the next two years (2020-2021) with new and upgraded stores, distribution centres and further innovations across its business.

The plans are expected to create a further 4,000 new jobs next year, adding to the 3,000 permanent roles already created in 2020.

The supermarket, which celebrates its 30th anniversary in the UK this year, said its continued investment in Britain was “recognition for three decades of trust and loyalty” shown by its growing base of loyal customers.

In its annual trading update, Aldi said an influx of new shoppers had helped it increase sales in the UK and Ireland by 8.3% to a record £12.3bn in the year to 31 December 2019 (2018: £11.3bn), despite the grocery market growing by just 1% overall. Latest data shows Aldi’s UK sales have continued to rise by 10%, with its market share standing at 8%. The total number of customers now shopping with Aldi stands at more than18 million.

The group, which reported a drop in profits in 2018, saw margins improve last year, with efficiencies of scale offsetting continued investment in prices.

Under its investment plan, Aldi expects to open around 100 new stores across the UK over 2020 and 2021 in line with its long-term target of 1,200 stores by 2025, alongside over 100 store upgrades under its Project Fresh initiative. Other investments include new and expanded distribution centres and the rollout of recent innovations and developments, including its new ‘click and collect’ service which was successfully piloted and launched to customers last week.

Looking ahead, Aldi said its most important commitment to customers was to continue to keep its prices the lowest in the market as household budgets come under greater pressure.

According to The Grocer magazine, a basket of 33 everyday items at Aldi is on average 14% cheaper than the Big 4 supermarkets, whilst the monthly price comparison survey by Which? for August showed Aldi to be 19% cheaper on a trolley of 74 household goods.

Giles Hurley, Chief Executive Officer for Aldi UK and Ireland, (pictured) said, “For over 30 years, our success has been driven by the ever-increasing number of shoppers who put their trust in Aldi every time they shop with us. This is what enables us to keep investing in Britain - in our products, our prices, our people and in the communities we serve.

“The founding principle of our UK business back in 1990 was to offer a carefully-selected range of great quality products at the lowest prices. Whilst we’re continuing to innovate to give customers an even better experience and greater convenience, our core philosophy remains unchanged.

“With the UK’s economic outlook increasingly uncertain, families are more concerned about their grocery bills than ever. We’ve seen before that our customers need us most in times of financial hardship, which is why our commitment to remain Britain’s lowest-priced supermarket is more important than ever.”

Commenting on the supermarket’s response to the Coronavirus outbreak earlier in the year, Hurley added, “The response to the challenge presented by the Covid-19 pandemic was both heroic and historic.

“As ever, our 36,000 colleagues and thousands of suppliers rose to the challenge of feeding the nation with tremendous skill and courage, whilst the British public displayed remarkable patience and compassion. If there is a positive to take from the situation, it’s that supermarkets, suppliers and shoppers can overcome the greatest of challenges when we work together.”